LIMA - "It was the funnest time I ever had!" Steven Cotterman, 9, said after his plane ride."He was a little nervous at first. The plane dipped and he grabbed the seat. It was worthwhile," said Jim Moneer, who had brought Steven to the airport for his first airplane ride.
The plane rides Saturday at the Allen County Airport were worthwhile for the Northwest Ohio Food Bank, as well. Rides lasting about 15 minutes sold for $15 per person, with all the profits going to the food bank, said Dennis Perry, co-owner of the airport. Five planes flew people over Lima, while many more planes were on display.In addition to raising money for the food bank, Perry said he and co-owner Kim Henkener, who bought the airport eight months ago, hoped to introduce the airport to the public."You'd be surprised at how many people don't know where the airport is," he said. Some people have lived in Lima their whole lives and never visited the airport."He expected between 2,000 and 3,000 people to attend the airport's open house. A raffle also was held for a Discovery Flight."The best way to start is to take a Discovery Flight," said Scott Keyes, the owner of the airport's flight school. "It's a short intro to flying an airplane."Keyes said it's one thing to go up as a passenger in a plane, but it's something different to go up with an instructor."Then you decide if you want to be a pilot," Keyes said. "It's not hard. You just have to enjoy it, do the homework, progress from lesson to lesson."In addition to completing a training kit for ground school and learning to fly a plane, there are other important lessons related to the plane that need to be learned. One of the most important things an aspiring pilot needs to do early in the process is to pass a medical test, Keyes said. Other topics of study include how to care for the plane, navigation, and weather."You almost become a weatherman when you become a pilot," Keyes said.Richard Keller, who has flown since 1988, was piloting a 1979 Cessna 172N Saturday. He shouted, "Clear!" and shortly thereafter began taxiing down the runway with two passengers."I just love flying," he said. "I fly for the sport of it, the entertainment. It's a quick way to get places."
Flights to fight hunger